A Few Surprising Facts about the Underrated Rolex Oysterquartz Watches

July 26th, 2021

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Rolex is celebrated for its robust and durable mechanical watches. However, there was indeed a time when Rolex also joined the quartz movement, eventually paving the way for Rolex Oysterquartz watches. Quartz movements were the most coveted tech of the 1960s and 1970s. Big players in the watchmaking industry competed to produce the world’s first quartz wristwatch.

In 1960, the Japanese brand Seiko introduced the Astron as the world’s first-ever wristwatch powered by a quartz calibre. This marked the starting of the bitter battle today known as the Quartz Crisis or Quartz Revolution.

However, Rolex was one of the high-end Swiss watchmakers that confronted the battling time with Oysterquartz watches. So let’s explore some of the most surprising facts about the underrated Rolex Oysterquartz collection.

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Top 5 Surprising Facts about the Rolex Oysterquartz

Rolex took five years to develop the Oysterquartz movements

Rolex took about five years from 1972 to design, develop and examine its in-house quartz movements. The quartz Calibre 5035 debuted in 1977, powering the Oysterquartz Datejust. On the other hand, Rolex introduced the quartz Calibre 5055 equipped with the Oysterquartz Day-Date watches.

  • However, the Rolex Oysterquartz movements featured 11 jewels and an oscillator of 32 kHz.
  • Both the Calibre 5035 and 5055 rendered high precision to all Rolex mechanical Calibres of that time.
  • Moreover, they supported hacking seconds and quickset calendar functionality.
  • The fascinating fact to note is that the earliest iterations of Calibre 5035 were not COSC certified.
  • Thus, the Datejust Oysterquartz watches during this time do not flaunt the text “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” on the dial.

However, Rolex sent the Oysterquartz Datejust models produced from 1979 onwards for COSC certification. Eventually, they featured the COSC designation on the dial.

On the contrary, from the beginning, the Calibre 5055 was COSC-certified. Thus, every Day-Date Oysterquartz watch featured the text “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” on the dial.

Rolex Produced Oysterquartz watches for 25 years

Rolex Oysterquartz was in production from 1977 to the early 2000s. Within this time, the watchmaker produced various Oysterquartz models in the Datejust and Day-Date collections.

  • However, the Rolex Oysterquartz featured a 36mm Oyster case, available in several metal options.
  • But the case was more angular in shape compared to the automatic round models.

Furthermore, Rolex equipped the Oysterquartz watches with integrated bracelets. The first Oysterquartz watches debuted in 1977 in Rolex’s catalogue were the Reference 17000, 19018 and 17013.

Rolex produced less than 25,000 Oysterquartz Models

Within the 25 years of Oysterquartz production, Rolex produced less than 25,000 quartz watches. And this is a deficient number in the brand’s manufacturing. Rolex now makes more than a million timepieces each year.

However, Rolex sent its quartz movements for COSC certification last in 2001. And the Oysterquartz watches stayed within Rolex’s catalogue until 2003. The Datejust versions are the most common second hand Rolex Oysterquartz watches found in the pre-owned market. The next popular Oysterquartz model available in the secondary market is the yellow gold Rolex Day-Date 19018.

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